One of the greatest challenges in sales is getting an appointment with a decision-maker.

But it’s a challenge that pays off, as Entrepreneur magazine reports:

“While these clients require a lot more creativity and persistence to reach, you will generally have less competition—and close the sale more quickly—when you finally get in front of them. And most importantly, once you earn their business, they make great and loyal customers.”

The magazine goes on to suggest that one of the key ways to get in front of those decision-makers is to go where they are. Meeting them at industry events removes the gatekeepers who prevent sales calls from getting past the reception desk.

So where are the decision-makers? In the sign industry, they’re at ISA International Sign Expo. ISA research shows that 89 percent of attendees either have the final say or can influence it. Sounds like decision-makers, no?

How does that compare to a typical industry event? Research by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) says that about 81 percent of attendees has buying power.

So at a typical show, about four out of every five people who walk past a booth have the power of the checkbook in their pocket. At ISA International Sign Expo, it’s nine out of 10.

That’s a lot of buying power in one room.

It’s also one location that offers layers of potential business relationships: manufacturers, suppliers and distributors, national sales companies and local sign shops.

In addition to appointments at the booths, numerous networking events offer opportunities to connect with buyers and sellers. Consider it the first step to finding those “great and loyal customers.”